Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost

Sometimes data and reason aren’t enough to change people’s minds. For all the level headed arguments against parking minimums, about how current policy restricts housing supply and drives up costs, and about the unfairness of hidden subsidies for drivers at the expense of everyone else, the knee-jerk, emotional response resisting change will always be a powerful force. Those wishing to affect positive change have not only to construct reasoned arguments for it, but to tug on heartstrings as well. That’s the kind of appeal that The Sightline Institute made recently in the article “Ugly by Law”. It’s the kind of appeal that Park(ing) Day makes every year.  By seeing a vision of what could be, people will also view the world as it exists with new eyes. Many have become numb to car dominated landscapes and lifestyles. Providing a clear vision of what could have been and what we are missing out on, will bring to life the better world that will be if the space dedicated to cars can be right-sized. Showing images and examples of transformation from an on the ground, human perspective will be an important part of helping others to see that what exists now is not an inevitability, but a choice. What does our (institutionalized) obsession with cars cost us?

While the above graphic features the view from my apartment in Bogotá, Colombia, I hope it will have some universal appeal.

High resolution version

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    • Perhaps the saddest thing I’ve seen out my window is a father who takes his crying son outside to get him to calm down. He just stands there cradling him in the parking lot because there is nowhere else to go. The complete lack of quality outdoor space has really prevented any kind of community forming. I think this mini parking crater can be at least partially faulted for some of the trust issues the the residents have with each other. I don’t know if you can see the electric fence or the jagged glass that tops the walls, but these are not protecting against some outside invader, but rather against neighbors. I guess there is kind of a chicken and egg situation. Even if the walls remained though, there could be some space for socializing between people in the same building.

      • Yikes! Didn’t notice that before. It’s a sad irony that what was created to prevent safety creates isolation and perpetuates the negative it was trying to prevent.

        Always interesting to see others observations of the same sort of thing!

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